Note: This story was originally published in Al-Daffla Blog, a joint media venture between Duffel Blog and Al Jazeera.
TREKH NAWA, AFGHANISTAN – The US Marine Corps has confirmed reports of a new mass-killing in Helmand province that has shocked the governments of both the United States and Afghanistan.
"We can confirm that [these killings] took place, that they involved a squad from the 3rd Battalion 9th Marine Regiment, and that an investigation is in progress," read a coalition press release.
The incident, originally reported by an Afghan human rights group called the Taliban, started when a squad of US Marines came upon several dozen Afghan men engaged in the traditional Afghan sport of badal, consisting of launching several ceremonial mortar rounds at Combat Outpost Hanson.
According to local officials, the men had also spent the morning digging holes around the combat outpost to fill with explosives so the Marines would not suffer from any rodent infestations.
Upon seeing the Marines, the Afghans began celebratory firing in the air with their AK-47's and several RPG's. Due to high wind velocity, most of the rounds were accidentally blown in the direction of the Marines.
Without giving the Afghans time to explain their actions or brew a warm welcoming cup of tea, the Marines immediately went on a murderous rampage, shooting over twenty-five.
There are also hints that the Marines had a long-running dispute with the victims regarding the role of radical Islam in the governance of rural Afghanistan.
This incident, known in the U.S. military as a "blue-on-red" attack, is just the latest in a string of violent unprovoked attacks by the U.S. dating back to October 2001, following a series of plane crashes in the United States.
Concerned Afghan citizen and Pakistani resident Mullah Omar has complained that the incident underscores the lack of U.S. sensitivity to the Afghan people.
"We continue to condemn these Marines for their unprovoked murderous rampage, as well as all other members of the Crusader-Zionist occupation force and their puppet regime in Afghanistan."
The government of Afghanistan has responded by demanding an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan unless the U.S. pays $32 million in compensation to the government of Afghanistan, preferably in small unmarked bills.
The Pentagon has also announced it will conduct a formal investigation into the killings and may give the squad leader a formal punishment called "The Bronze Star", which he will have to wear at all times.
Renowned American commentator and elder statesman Ramsey Clark believes that this incident has the potential to both bring down the American government and force the U.S. to disband its military.
Experts say that the incident is one of the worst examples of violence in Afghanistan since last week.